I had coffee with my buddy Bill Huffhttp://www.huffpublishing.com/ yesterday at Luther Seminary. Bill has his own book publishing/promotion business, but has yet to write his own life story. Cancer survivor, deep sea diving accident survivor, armed robbery near death survivor, and many other interesting stories come from his life that taught him lessons on what matters, and would be of interest to lots of folks. I gave Bill my "here's how to finally get that book out of your head and into peoples' hands" advice. See if it applies to you:
A. Bill's Research Phase
Here's a simple way to get your whole book researched, in print and a buzz built BEFORE the book is even written.
1. Lock yourself up and simply write a working title, a log line, and ten chapter titles. Do it in one hour. Do it this weekend. Just get it done. It may all change by the end, but get a starting point.
2. Post each chapter title, one at a time, for two weeks on your blog
3. Write and post a sub-title and a short paragraph with your best thoughts/stories Monday/Wednesday/Friday for each of those two weeks
4. Ask 10 of your sharpest, most connected friends to commit to each posting one thought, story or comment during those two weeks (schedule them on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday)
5. Invite 100 of your best contacts to consider getting in on the conversation and posting thoughts, stories, comments (Guarantee #4, invite #5)
6. Gather and polish the stories as the chapter comes to a close, asking open-ended questions to the whole group, asking "who else should I talk to about this theme?" and "what is one thing I'm missing here?"
7. Put the chapter "to bed" and move on to the next, the next, the next
8. Take two weeks of, and don't do ANYTHING with the book
B. Bill's Organizational Phase
1. After your two week hiatus, give yourself the gift of a week locked up in a cabin away from people, phone, television, email, and all tech to turn each chapter into a shape that then can be embellished...
Monday AM Chapter 1 - Read through the material and add, subtract, consolidate, fine-tune.
Monday PM Chapter 2 - Ditto
Tuesday AM Chapter 3 - - Ditto
Tuesday PM Chapter 4 - Ditto through Chapter 10 on Friday
2. With all chapters outlined, use Saturday to do an audio read with recording software and add anything that seems appropriate AS YOU READ
3. First thing Sunday morning listen to the whole book with a blank legal pad at hand, making notes as you listen to your own voice, recording time code at points you want to embellish, ideas that pop into your head, other illustrations you think you want to add, etc.
4. Go home and put the ENTIRE project away for two weeks. Don't touch it. Don't look at it. Don't think about it. (Yeah, yeah, that's impossible.) Let your subconscious do its own work while you enrich your brain with other thoughts and experiences.
C. Bill's Polish Phase
1. Week 1: Take out the notes and audio for chapter 1 and concentrate on getting a next-to-final form of it done. Each night before bed, reread the chapter with your blank legal pad next to the bed. Make any notes. Tell God and your brain you want some ideas by morning that will enrich the book. Turn off the lights. The moment you wake, record whatever thoughts come to mind regarding the book. Get up and have a cup of coffee, go for a walk (oxygen, glucose, BDNF), then sit down for one hour and polish the chapter with the new stuff. Do this every day this week, then put the chapter aside. Send the chapter to your 10 original contributors for their critique, and to anyone from the 100 friends who also showed an interest.
2. Week 2: Ditto for Chapter 2
3. Week 3-10 Ditto
4. Week 11 - Write the Epilogue
5. Week 12 - Write the Prologue
6. Week 13-15 - Add and polish anything your critiquers suggest
7. Week 16 -18 - Put it away and don't touch it
8. Week 20 - Do the final polish
So, that's my plan. Between now and a year from now, you'll have it done in a masterful way that you, alone, could never have done and you'll have set the stage for a nice buzz when it is finally released.
Oh yeah. A week from today sell it for a $100K advance.